Co-ownership Agreements

Owning a home as co-owner with family members or others

The cost of residential property on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands has increased dramatically.  Many people are not able to buy a home, or to cover the costs of owning a home, on their own.

There is growing interest for two or more people to purchase and own a residential property together, as “co-owners”.  For various reasons, multiple branches of a family often want to share a property, whether as units in one house or in separate buildings on the same property.

In the past, co-owners were usually family, and this is still popular, but persons who are not related can also be successful as co-owners.

Whether or not co-owners are related, we strongly recommend that they make a written agreement to govern their ownership and use of the property.  Verbal understandings regarding real property may not be legally enforceable.  Co-owners who do end up in a dispute often discover that their legal remedies are limited.  Litigation can be time-consuming, expensive, and extremely damaging to relationships.

A co-ownership agreement provides valuable clarity, prompts early discussions that could otherwise turn into disputes later, and alleviates many risks that can arise for co-owners.

A legal co-ownership agreement will cover matters such as:

  • how decisions are made about the property’s development and use;
  • who is responsible to pay various expenses (or how they are shared);
  • who is responsible for payment of the mortgage;
  • whether a co-owner can share/rent their unit, and keep the rent;
  • what happens if a co-owner wants to sell, and how proceeds are paid out;
  • any difference between legal (on title) and beneficial ownership; and
  • how any disputes that arise will be resolved quickly and cost-effectively.

We have helped many families, friends, and business associates get through the process of making a co-ownership agreement, and watched them share their ownership successfully.

Contact Beacon Law Centre for trusted advice on co-ownership agreements.


I just wanted to extend my thanks for your absolutely first class service. When we were purchasing our home, as you know, we had many obstacles to overcome and actually thought in the last two days that our deal might not go through. It was a very stressful time in our lives and I want you to know that we’ll always appreciate your calm, caring, professional manner and how you made us feel at ease and that it would all work out because we had you representing us.

You and the rest of your team are awesome, and this is why I will continue to refer you to anyone I know who needs legal representation. As a realtor being able to refer my clients to someone who I know without a doubt will provide them with the best legal advice and service adds to my confidence in terms of the overall service I am providing.

You have, in essence become a key element of my business team and I look forward to building on what is already a successful business relationship.”


Over the past year Lianne Macdonald has provided excellent legal advice to my real estate clients. I am always impressed with the quality of her services, as well as the care shown by Lianne and her staff. Lianne is always available if I have any questions or concerns. Her sound advice and legal counsel has greatly helped me in difficult and unusual situations. Lianne Macdonald is a proactive lawyer, an honest and caring person and a trusted friend. Without hesitation, I would recommend Lianne’s services to others, and will continue to use her service where they pertain.


Lianne, thank you so much for your excellent work on our conveyance. Your extra work helped save us thousands of dollars.

Dear Mr. Elgersma, I want to thank you and your team for all your help during my recent sale in Victoria. My lawyer here in Ontario was very impressed by your fee and said it was a very good deal in his experience. Thank you very much.


I recently had the experience of selling my condo. As I am not in the habit of frequently buying and selling my home I find the whole process a bit unnerving. To add to my unfamiliarity with home transactions, I was due to be out of the country on the completion date of my sale. Needless to say this was somewhat worrisome to me.

I hired Del to handle the legal transaction of my sale. What a great decision this turned out to be. Del and I got together a week prior to my trip and completed the necessary paperwork. There are a lot of papers to sign when selling a home and Del took the time to explain each document to me and answered all the questions I had. He then assured me that he had everything he needed in order to handle the transaction in my absence.

Del had explained everything so clearly to me and made me feel so at ease about the process that I felt completely comfortable leaving my legal interests in his hands while I was off vacationing. This made quite an impression on me as I have never felt comfortable leaving my fate in the hands of others, especially the likes of lawyers!

Previously I would have worried about everything going smoothly on the actual day of my home sale but to my delight and surprise on the completion date of this sale I laid in my hammock and drank champagne in the sunshine celebrating with complete confidence that the transaction would be handled just fine. I returned home only to have my suspicions confirmed . . .yes, in my absence, money had been quietly deposited to my account!

Thank you Del for allowing me to let go of the stress and worry around this large, important and infrequent type of event in my life.